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Arthritis Society responds to British Columbia budget  

Christine Basque 
Executive Director, British Columbia     

We applaud the Government of British Columbia for making healthcare a priority in its budget released yesterday, which included $495 million in new permanent funding to help reduce surgery backlogs.      

On behalf of arthritis patients, we’ve been raising the issue of wait times for some time and recently convened a pan-Canadian working group to put patients waiting in pain first. The investments announced in the B.C. budget, as well as other provincial budgets across the country, shows our efforts are starting to bear fruit.    

 Arthritis is the leading cause of hip and knee replacement surgery. People were already waiting too long for these life-changing surgeries before many were delayed and canceled this past year because of the pandemic. Just last week we heard a story out of northern B.C. of a husband desperate to help his wife of 57 years who’s in pain all day and all night even with pain medication. She’s been waiting for a new hip for more than two years.   

British Columbians support investing in joint replacement surgeries. In a recent Angus Reid poll, 77 per cent of B.C. respondents agreed that governments should make joint replacement surgeries a priority.    

It’s clear the Government of British Columbia is committed to building a stronger healthcare system that works to provide patients with better care sooner. The important healthcare funding increase of $2.6 billion puts the overall health budget at more than $25 billion.     

We encourage the B.C. government to work with all stakeholders, including the Arthritis Society, as it moves forward on its plan to reduce surgical wait times and deliver quality healthcare.   

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